McInnis touts his experience, blasts governor

Ritter making bad bets and losing, candidate tells Two Rivers crowd

Scott McInnis mostly ignored his Republican opposition as he announced his bid for governor in Grand Junction on Tuesday.

McInnis trained his criticism instead on Gov. Bill Ritter, the Democrat incumbent, as he spoke to about 90 people at Two Rivers Convention Center on the second day of his announcement tour.

Ritter “is in over his head,” McInnis told the applauding crowd.

He never mentioned state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, the Senate minority leader who once worked for him and now also is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Ritter next year. McInnis, however, did describe himself as the only candidate with the necessary experience to deal with Colorado economic problems.

Ritter’s decision to close the skilled-nursing unit at the Grand Junction Regional Center reflects his lack of management experience, McInnis said.

McInnis served six terms in the U.S. House from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope.

Ritter “makes bets, and it’s our skin in the game,” McInnis said.

In two cases, he said, Ritter’s bets came up losers.

Ritter lost the natural gas industry with his insistence on having the most stringent drilling rules in the nation, and he cost the state the Air Force’s Cyber Command, McInnis said.

The command’s 400 jobs went to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

McInnis said he will tell the military that “Colorado wants you, Colorado welcomes you, and we want to be a good neighbor to the U.S. military.”

As McInnis prepared to leave the plaza in front of the convention center, a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club ran out to see if he might be an emergency fill-in for their luncheon program.

McInnis took country singer and longtime friend Michael Martin Murphey to the Lions Club, where Murphey sang “Wildfire,” and the McInnis entourage then headed on to Delta.

Just as they were leaving, but not yet out of earshot, Lions Club President Josh Aubert quipped to the club, “Can we retake our straw poll?”


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